Meditation exercises for children are excellent tools for preventing stress and helping little ones disconnect, relax, and prepare for a peaceful night’s sleep.
I try to practice meditation in my daily life. I think it is a great holistic tool that we should all know how to use. I also think that, as moms, we should try to instill this habit in our children. Meditation has many benefits for them, too. So, how can we implement this change in their daily lives and help them shut out the noise?
Meditation is a very powerful tool that can help your child feel good, inside and out. Meditation increases concentration, helps children sleep better, and allows them to better control their thoughts. It also helps them recognize and manage emotions (a very important point, since it can be difficult for children to identify and express their emotions), build and improve self-esteem, and control stress (academic, familial, social, etc.).
Doing meditation exercises at bedtime can help calm nerves and lower stress-induced cortisol levels. A good rule of thumb is that a child can meditate for around the same number of minutes as the number of years in their age. However, if meditation does help your child relax, they might be able to meditate for more time, even until they fall asleep. Provide a calm and peaceful environment in your child’s room, with soft lighting, light music, and some aromatherapy. Your little ones will learn to relax their mind and body, and mediation will soon become a daily practice that fosters good sleep.
If your child likes to be in motion, yoga is a great way to start learning the basics of meditation. Beyond being a form of exercise, yoga is about quieting the mind. Most yoga classes for children include time to relax and meditate.
Another method is deep breathing. This is one of the most efficient ways to regulate our mind and body as humans, since breathing is so essential to our lives. When children get nervous, anxious, or stressed, deep breathing goes a long way to restore balance. It is important that when teaching any technique, we remind our children to use these tools whenever they’re having a difficult time during the day. Set a good example and focus on your own breathing. Show them where you feel it in your own body: nose, throat, chest, stomach. Ask them to imitate your action and tell you what they feel while breathing. Inhale for three seconds, hold your breath for another three, and exhale for three more seconds; then, repeat the exercise. Over time, you’ll notice the sequences getting longer and the breaths deeper. This technique is very easy to use with children (and adults) who cannot fall asleep. No matter how distracted you are, you can always regain focus through breathing exercises.
Another good method of meditation for children is the use of mantras. Repeat the same phrase, one that you have chosen together and that will help your child feel safe and balanced. Make it something that is easy to remember and to say, and have them repeat it with their eyes closed. Here are some examples:
- I love my life. My life smiles at me.
- I am loved and love comes to me easily.
- My heart is full of love, and I love myself more than anything.
- If it’s not good for me, I let it go.
- I’m grateful for…
- The world is a safe place and my home is even safer.
- I have everything I need, and I know how to take care of myself.
- My body is healthy and my mind is strong.